There are easier surnames for a German footballer to possess than Muller, especially if you happen to be a Bayern Munich striker. There can be no avoiding comparisons with the legendary Gerd, from journalists and fans alike, but this eloquent and intelligent young man seems to have his feet firmly planted on the ground. Thomas Muller has exploded onto the top flight scene in his first full season as a pro, and surely has the potential to be a major discovery for Germany at the 2010 FIFA World Cup™.
A native of Upper Bavaria, Muller joined Bayern at the age of just ten. The German FA (DFB) quickly spotted his goal-scoring ability and highly effective playing style, handing him frequent appearances at junior international level. A fringe member of the senior squad in Munich from summer 2008, he received a first taste of Bundesliga and UEFA Champions League action under Jurgen Klinsmann. However, Muller’s stellar ascent began for real with Louis van Gaal’s arrival at Bayern. Searching for the right man to operate in the hole behind the central striker in a 4-5-1 formation, the Dutch supremo settled on the promising young reserve. The fast-starting 1.86m forward instantly became a first-team regular.
Muller repaid the coach’s faith with a total of 13 league goals, although the 20-year-old offers considerably more than effective finishing skill. Quite apart from pace, vision and exceptional technical ability for a relatively big man, he has demonstrated remarkable versatility, with more than creditable displays both in attacking midfield and wide on the flanks.
"I think I may be able to help, due to the way I like to keep it simple, potentially as a substitute. I can bring fresh impetus if things are getting bogged down," Muller told FIFA.com earlier this year. It was a typically astute comment, characteristic of his approach both on and off the field. He earned his first full cap in March 2010 in Germany’s 1-0 friendly defeat to Argentina in Munich, and represents a genuine alternative for national coach Joachim Low in South Africa.